Manchester United are proving the higher the entropy, the higher the disorder. We laugh now – but remember we’ve been there


Manchester United fascinate me.

I know. I should be talking about Luton and missed chances and awful fans (again) but I’m still scarred by the 1980’s Luton so I’d rather leave them to it and bleach their image out of my brain. So it’s Man U this week.

That is, the current Manchester United. Not the historic sides who have won so much and have broken my heart on numerous occasions since that first time in 1977 THE JAMMY BASTARDS. No, I mean the current tragedy-in-38-acts down the M62.

I’m also fascinated by the concept of entropy. This is the idea that there are a number of ways that things can be done and therefore many ways in which it can fail—the higher the entropy, the higher the disorder.

It’s easier to maintain success if the routine remains the same. Look at our Boot Room years. If the process remains the same then success will follow success. That all ended for them when Ferguson left. There were many ways of dealing with his retirement. Moyes (Scottish, no-nonsense and hand- picked by his predecessor) and then some really big names. That should add to the legacy.

And yet.

Van Gaal (won the lot), Mourinho (even won stuff for them but with stifling football), Solskjaer (club legend, small) and now a former Ajax manager – who presumably knows something about the game – have all sat in the chair and failed to build on Ferguson’s work. Sure you can talk about ownership and off-the-field stuff but that hasn’t turned Mason Mount from a talented midfielder into a spectator. That hasn’t stopped them from looking at, let’s say, the lifestyle choices of one former player and another who I’d best not name (but, yeah, him). And none of that explains how Bruno Fernandes got the armband.

That last one is extraordinary.

I saw a clip of Ben Foster’s show recently where he talked about our 5-0 win there a few years ago. He’s already mentioned how Mo asked him what side he’d go if he’d had a penalty. He didn’t have one that day and you’d think that he’d be happy with one of his best ever goals that afternoon but he just had to know. Now Foster was talking about Jordan Henderson and his role as captain.

Even at 5-0 up Henderson never got off his players’ backs. Foster says that even Salah and Mane were still looking for instructions from a much less gifted player. That’s how ruthless teams and great captains are. You shout, you praise, you cajole and you support.

Bruno Fernandes throws his arms up in the air and looks forlorn like a kid who’s just opened up his fourth consecutive shit Christmas present, yet someone, somewhere thought he was the best choice. People have had meetings about that.

The higher the entropy, the higher the disorder.

But why this fascination with a sworn enemy? Because ultimately all roads lead to Anfield.

We’ve been there too. Ruddock passing a coin around the pitch, players in court about match-fixing allegations, Budweiser labels, swanning off to Dubai hours after they’ve lost 6-1 to a mid-table team and having the gall to film it, Hodgson etc. In the last thirty years we’ve won more European Cups than league titles, because league titles are harder to win. They require more focus and professionalism than just the odd midweek game. The generation before them couldn’t stop winning them.

In 1988 we won the league with just two defeats. Seven years later we finished 8th with 16.

Both clubs could afford to throw money at it so it’s not the same as Leeds United’s almighty dive from Champions League semi-final to Second Division obscurity and yet we just couldn’t get it back together. With us, most good seasons (2002, 2009, 2014) were followed by absolute stinkers so we could never stay on top of the wave. Also, good players were often replaced by weaker ones. See Xabi Alonso and Luis Suarez. United brought in Ighalo and Johnny Evans.

Is this a bit smug given that the Reds are playing well in their second Jürgen incarnation, yesterday aside? Well, I hope so, but it’s interesting when the sheer amount of affluence and resource isn’t enough to even turn the ship around. City have made things much trickier so that can’t be pleasant for them. Good. When it was them tearing up the League we had to sit and watch. Seems only fair that it’s their neighbours that is the issue.

They have the wealth and the power to change all of that but that often isn’t enough.

This is probably just the way of things. Blackburn Rovers were once one of the most feared teams in the League, Arsenal had their Invincibles and even Spurs looked like they were coming up. Then City and Newcastle found their fully above board and honourable owners (Nice one – Legal Editor).

So thanks for your indulgence. I did want to talk about Quansah’s form and the confidence the club have shown in him, but sometimes it’s too easy to become distracted by the firework display a few miles away.

I can’t believe Darwin missed that chance.

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